Soccer is a very passionate sport and fans are usually the ones that make the game more interesting. From their chants to the loud blowing of vuvuzelas, the stadium is usually not the same once you take out fans.
Cast your mind to the peak of the COVID-19 when the restrictions stopped fans from entering the stadium. It somehow felt as if the soul of the game had left.
Fans have a way of cheering their favorite team to victory. In the late 1990s, teams usually bank on home advantage to win their games. This is because their larger number of fans will drown the visitor’s fans, putting some sort of fear in the minds of the opponents.
In those years, it was hard to find teams losing on home soil. Of all the things that soccer fans do, the one that leaves non-fans in confusion is why soccer fans turn their backs.
Some wonder if it is a form of ritual that everyone that aspires to be a soccer fan must learn. If you have been wondering why soccer fans turn their backs during a soccer game, we will answer all your questions here.
Why Do Soccer Fans Turn Their Backs?
There are numerous reasons why soccer fans turn their backs during the game. While some do it to express their joy, others turn their backs in frustration when their teams are not performing optimally.
Below are some of the major instances when fans turn their backs during a soccer game.
There is a popular celebration among the fans of Lech Poznan, a soccer club in Poland. The fans do this by turning their backs to the soccer pitch, locking their shoulders to form a human chain, and jumping on a spot in unison.
What started in Poland has spread around the soccer world and has now been popularized by Manchester City’s fans. It is now popularly known as Grecque or the Poznan.
Fans of Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers, Spain’s Deportivo Alaves, and Scotland’s Celtic are some of those that are famous for this type of celebration after their team scores a goal.
The celebration was first brought to England in 2010 when Lech Poznan played against Man City in the Europa League. When Lech Poznan scored against City, their fans turned around and bounced in unison with their arms locked to each other.
A year later, City fans adopted it as their own form of celebration while giving it a new meaning. They do the Poznan celebration while chanting “Let’s all we’re back”.
Some soccer fans now do this celebration when their teams have just emerged from a long streak of losses. It is their own way of indirectly saying, ‘We are back to our winning ways’.
Mockery of the opponent
The rivalry in the stadium is not limited to the soccer players alone. The fans add spice to the entire atmosphere by sometimes mocking fans of the other team.
Inasmuch as clashes among fans of different clubs are infrequent, this is usually the leading cause when they do happen. For example, since Manchester City adopted the Poznan goal celebration, fans of rival teams have often used it against them.
In April 2012 during a league game between Arsenal and Manchester City, Mikel Arteta scored to put Arsenal ahead of City. Arsenal fans burst into the Poznan celebration as a way of mocking City fans.
The same scenario played out in August 2013 during a league encounter between Manchester City and Cardiff City. Cardiff fans burst into the Poznan celebration after their team scored the third goal. The match ended 3-2 in their favor.
Soccer is a very passionate sport. In competitive games, especially at the knockout phase of tournaments, the tension can build to unbearable levels.
The peak of tension usually comes when the game extends into penalty shootouts. A lot of soccer fans do not like watching the penalties because they believe it is a game of chance.
The best team throughout the game can still lose on penalties. So, it is not unlikely to find soccer fans turning their backs to the stadium during a penalty shootout.
In fact, this is highly advisable for those that have underlying health conditions like high blood pressure. Watching tense moments in a soccer game can lead to a spike in their blood pressure which can eventually lead to a health emergency.
If you know you can’t handle it, simply turn your back. There is absolutely no shame in it.
Out of frustration
The main reason why soccer fans pay huge amounts for tickets is to watch their favorite team live in the stadium, in anticipation that they will win. Therefore, they simply want to play their part by cheering them to victory.
However, when fans have done their best and screamed at the top of their voices for their team and the team fails to impress, it will likely leave them frustrated.
When teams experience a bad day, the fans will likely understand. However, when the bad days become too frequent to the point that the team is losing to underdogs, their fans will definitely be enraged.
To show their frustration, soccer fans will usually leave early before the end of the game, showing their backs to the pitch.
In 2019, during the height of Arsenal’s decline, over 15,000 fans of the club left the Emirate stadium during their game against Manchester City. Arsenal was trailing 3-0 at halftime.
Some of those that chose to stay beyond the halftime booed the players (particularly Mesut Ozil) rather than cheer them. This silent act of protest eventually led to the sacking of their coach.
Celtic fans have introduced a variation of the Poznan dance which they call ‘The Huddle’. It is a lot similar to the Poznan as they do this facing away from the stadium.
However, they have a song they sing in the process, “Let’s all do the huddle”, which gives a new meaning to the celebration.
Likewise, Deportivo Alaves fans in La Liga also have their own variation. In their case, they back the stadium, link their shoulders side-by-side, and hum the tune to the TV series Pippi Longstocking.
Fans of many other teams have found a variation of the Poznan attractive and have adopted a variation of it for their goal celebration.
Obviously, the reason why one soccer fan will turn his or her back to the pitch will likely be different from another. However, no matter what you do, make sure that you are not missing a crucial action in the process.
Read more: Do Fans Get To Keep Soccer Balls?
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!